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Event Build: The Aberrant Blade

Tags: #Character Build Archer  #Character Build Warrior  #Character Build Pilgrim  #Race:Redguard  #Rank:Event Mythic  #Hall of Fame Build  #Event:Crossworlds 
  • Member
    February 11, 2015

    Theme Song! Play! 


    “The true science of martial arts means practicing them in such a way that they will be useful at any time, and to teach them in such a way that they will be useful in all things.” 

    “The mind is the same whether it is a matter of defeating one person or a thousand or ten-thousand enemies”


    The Scroll of Earth

    (Containing the earthly concerns and general outline of the build)

     Race: Yokudan (A devout worshipper of Leki, and a wandering warrior on a martial pilgrimage. She seeks to test her skill and develop technique, possibly for employment under a Jarl, or merely for martial perfection. Some may seek a throne of their own, in time...)

    Stone: Warrior; Steed + Lord via Aetherial Crown

    Skills: One Handed, Two Handed, Block, Archery,

     Heavy Armor, Sneak, Smithing


    Tier One: Aetherial Crown (Warrior+Steed), Blades regalia

    Tier Two: Aetherial Crown (Steed+Lord), Temple Priest Robes, Blades boots & gauntlets

    Weapons: “If you know well the advantages of the different weapons, you can use any weapon appropriately in accordance with the situation…”

    • Windshear x2 (Signifying mastery of martial arts near the end of the Aberrant Blade’s journey)
    • The Ebony Blade (An irresistible Akavir work of art, and a corruptive influence)
    • Ebony Battle Axe (A halberd equal to the sharpness and pageantry of Akaviri designs; used primarily on horseback)
    • Angi’s Bow/Zephyr +Ancient Nord/Dwarven Arrows (For standing ground against other archers in honorable dueling, or to be used on horseback during those large-scale battles in which you will have a mount)

    Shouts: Slow Time, Marked For Death, Unrelenting Force .

    Stats placement:  0/2/1 M/H/S

    "Generally speaking, the Way of the Yokudan warrior is resolute acceptance of death."


    The Scroll of Water

    (Water representing the Mind and Spirit of the build. Its surface is like the tsunami, its center like the ocean depths)

    The Aberrant Blade has a keen interest in all styles of combat, especially those of overwhelming force found in Skyrim. Her initial load-out will be a heavy one:  full armor, a bow and overloaded quiver, and greatsword. When you have two-handed leveled higher than one-handed by around five points, switch to carrying a sword and shield until one-handed has taken the lead. Then switch again. In this way will you level all three skills and get into the habit of “training” during your warriors pilgrimage.

    You should level block from the get-go heavily, going so far as to let lone assailants wail on your shield from time to time. Block Runner is your reward, a goal by level 20-23; and a key perk in that all forms of the Aberrant Blade’s combat style, save archery duels, will require great mobility.

    Heavy armor will level slowly as we are perking block so heavily. This suggested a low amount of armor perks and a decent amount of smithing perks + the Lord Stone. Still, I pushed for my Blades Armor early on. Redguard start with 20 in Heavy Armor, so the demand to get “4/5 juggernaut” isn’t much. The goal in gameplay and RP though, as you will read, is to become so adept in planning, utilizing technique, and adapting- that you need less armor in the end than at the start of your warrior’s pilgrimage.

    Smithing is perked for Ebony and Arcane, to keep armor and weapons in good repair (Blades Armor doesn’t correspond to a Smithing perk itself). As we will be using each of our weapons depending on what the situation calls for, there was incentive to perk Ebony: having a battle-axe aesthetically matching the pageantry of Yokudan and Akaviri battle gear, whilst providing the supreme damage output a competent axe-wielder should be capable of.  I honestly waited until around level 25 or so to put this skill on grind all at once, via this technique listed here.

    The Muffled Movement + Silence perks allows for an especially sneaky feeling and the Silent Roll + Great Critical Charge combo allows one more way of taking the initiative. While this character is usually moved to honorable combat (even if she prompts it rather dishonorably by talking shizz to other wandering mercenaries from time to time), she is not above getting the drop on demons and monsters, as well as evil magicians and hagravens. Deadly Aim was left unperked to prompt a more honorable way of fighting with the bow, namely archery dueling, yet the regular sneak-attack bonus with a nicely smithed Zephyr will be enough oomph should she feel the need to start a fight underhanded. The Shadow Warrior perk is used in a way that ties the whole build together, and isn’t used to slit a single throat, nor escape the battlefield. 

    The Aberrant Blade’s final loadout will be Zephyr, her robes (plus the Aetherial Crown), Blades gauntlets and boots, a Windshear or two, and the Ebony Blade. Her mastery of strategy, proficiency in all martial arts, her uncanny agility- these will be her real tools.

    The principle of the true Way is that of winning by any means necessary.

    (To stay within the level 55 requirements, either drop a point out of Juggernaut, or drop Fists of Steel- m'bad)


    The Scroll of Fire

    (Fire best represents the wild cadences of both individual duels and group warfare, and thus it is in this Scroll of Fire that the combat techniques of this build are presented)

    Near the end of her journey during the Civil War missions, the Aberrant Blade will be “borrowing the battlefield”. This is a term used by pilgrimaging warriors seeking to test their skill in true warfare, and impress potential lords for high ranking employment. Ideally, these quests will be held off until she has the spirit to make such an impression. Wearing her Akaviri armor on horseback, she charges into battle with bow and halberd, leaving any and all allies behind. If the environment allows, utilize horsemanship and halberd for the duration of combat. If the environment isn’t suitable for either charging nor marksmanship, or the fight shifts to an unsuitable location, retreat and abandon the horse or let it die beneath her in the middle of the fray. Either way, when borrowing the battlefield, her goal is always to rush in and lay waste…   

    One rank of Steady Hand is taken, and this is to simulate in archery the same clarity and precision achieved during melee combat. A true warrior knows her way around all weapons, with a preference for none.  Standing ground against archers with your own powerful bow is thrilling; ducking while side-stepping, moving around cover, and getting the timing down in pure archery duels is easily my favorite combat style in all Skyrim.  I enjoy it so much that I hesitated to put Steady Hand in the build, but ultimately the late-game RP required a more skillful ability than I can perform without the perk.  

    Yokudan Swordsmanship

     In the Book of Circles, Hunding says:  “The slightest change in one’s posture will often be imperceptible to an opponent as he is intent on the action of striking with his sword. Shifting your weight to your back foot and allowing his blade to pass, you can forego the parry and strike before they realize the mistake.” Back-stepping while holding block with Block Runner allows us to recreate this. Bashing perks were not taken, but bashing should be used to interrupt attacks if your timing is off. 

    The short height of female Redguards makes this more difficult to pull off consistently. Important here is the use of block while striking with the Ebony Blade. During the animation of a standard attack, holding block will ensure that you return to the defensive very quickly and immediately after the strike lands. Sometimes a bash will interrupt your swing and you will have to press/hold block again, so keep your wits about you. By the time you have Block Runner and 4/5 in Shield Wall  (earlier the better), turning aside blows with just a sword will do very little damage- and your mobility keeps you from having to block every hit anyway.

    Adding in a shout of Marked for Death (which has a remarkably quick cool-down) is representative of the shout used while striking an opponent in various martial arts, and helps weaken the opponent’s willpower and battle-spirit.

    Around level 30-35, armor and blocking can be thoroughly replaced by mobility and dodging. Smithing will keep your boots and gauntlets at a decent AR, and the Lord Stone will add extra durability. You will not require heavy cuirasses or a helmet, a long weapon or bulky shield. I find it a thing of beauty to level up Heavy Armor, Block, and Two-Handed, then discard armor, shield, and long reach while still retaining the lessons and skill gained. 

    Now then, what would a build doubling as a treatise on in-game martial arts be without a penultimate technique or four?

    Leki’s Ephemeral-Feint:

    Combining Block Runner with the Shadow Warrior perk was a first for me. I remapped my crouch button to circle, so as to avoid excessive wear and tear on my controller’s analog stick. By holding block with the two aforementioned perks, one can crouch and stand continually in succession, maintaining great mobility and near invisibility. I used this to become a zig-zag across the battlefield, keeping mages and archers alike off track while speedily closing the gap. With Quick Reflexes, we can use this to literally slip underneath big axes and hammers and behind their wielder.

    Eternal Winter:

     Using a single Slow Time shout right after Quick Reflex ends will slow time down longer than your shout cool-down, even without an amulet of Talos. Combining the Ephemeral Feint with Eternal Winter, your enemy would basically be swinging at you, hit air, turn around to see you shout and start mowing down his allies like lightning.

    The Evil Wind Blows Through The Temple:

    Using the Ebony Blade can seem a little underwhelming at times, but for the Aberrant Blade with the techniques used above, you could put a Tsaesci to shame! Imagine chaining the above techniques with yet another! With the Two-Handed perk Great Critical Charge, we are able to continue sprinting and press the attack trigger (not a power attack), slashing every time without stopping. Preceding this with Marked for Death, a bit of evasion, then the Eternal Winter technique, this allows for charging across battlefields and through foes.

    There has been a lot of love for two-handed weaponry so far. As you can see, Windshear is not needed for this build, let alone two Windshears! However, once everything has come together, I love switching from scimitars to dual Windshears simply to demonstrate a new level of mastery and expertise. It isn’t a magic weapon, it is a “powerful technique/ depth of skill” developed (divinely transmitted by Leki herself?) during a battle to assassinate an emperor! Plus, it keeps in line with needing less armor and less lengthy weaponry, allowing one to step inside an enemy’s range and intercept a blow by staggering them. With skill, you can keep this up on several enemies.  Besides, the special move listed below is too cool to pass up.


    Ultimate Technique: Two Swords, One Far Shore

    The bare requirements for this technique are Block Runner, the Dual-Wield Blocking method and Marked for Death. Dual-wielding two Windshears and the racial power Adrenaline Rush (for bashing) are required for complete mastery. (Note, bashing with Windshear in your offhand during Dual Wield Blocking staggers, but doesn’t send them flying.)

    When conducting melee against many adversaries on open ground draw both swords and assume a guard stance. Act as a shepherd, running a large circle around the entire group of enemies. As they give chase, they will form a single unit of densely packed warriors. Parry while you keep circling the group (and if appropriate riposte with a Windshear technique to stagger attackers.), until they are grouped together. Shout a fierce battle-cry at this moment, Marking for Death those before you. Here you may break your guard position and unleash heavy handed dual-wielding damage until they have scattered or attempt to surround you again. Either reassume your guard position and repeat the technique, or change strategies if appropriate.

    Battle cries are not to be underestimated. If you fear the strength of enemies, shouting many times while evading attacks in the course of combat can raise your fighting spirit as well as break their own. It is in this way we can achieve what is called One Thousand Enemies, A Single Cut. Think on this deeply and practice diligently.



    The Scroll of Wind

    (Wherein is listed the conduct and strategies of those foes to be found in Skyrim, and how to surpass them)

    Early on Mages must be dealt with carefully, and it is not below the Aberrant Blade to use sneak attacks and the Elemental Protection perk of the block tree if she finds a shield within a mages lair; or sneak by altogether if her task doesn’t require their death. Later, Leki’s Ephemeral Feint and Windshear will allow her to crush magic users.

    Dragons were constantly a threat, with zero active healing and little magicka defense, but with Marked for Death, a few arrows, and good cover- the Aberrant Blade can take them on far before melee mastery is achieved.

    Melee opponents are a blast. Eventually you will be facing the world wearing your tier-two glass canon getup and rocking your crucial perks. Here, the Ebony Blade will take precedence in every encounter. Windshear(x2) is crowd control against groups with strength, or singular opponents- have fun! The Ebony Blade is also primarily used to activate Leki’s Ephemeral Feint and the Eternal Winter techniques. An ebony battle-axe will be utilized on horseback- to have the biggest damage done for each pass on your horse.

    Windshear would be all this character needs to face the world. It is the mark of a true warrior to never neglect any of her tools however, so both RP and perk requirements will dictate the use of your other weapons should you get Windshear too soon, or seek to depend upon it.

    Archers are always fun with this build, and I like saving them for last honestly. Killing all your melee opponents, then turning to see the three bowman who’d been raining arrows down on your armor-Careful sidesteps, ducking, and getting the timing down in pure archery duels against two or more bowman; this way of battle is ancient and honorable.


    The Scroll of Heaven

    (Detailing the Walkabout and explaining its surface and depth as one)

    A warrior’s pilgrimage... Similar to Knight Errantry, a Yokudan warrior wanders the land practicing in martial skill and honing her mind. Her belongings are next to none, being her weaponry and the armor she wears. During this time she tests herself against the various martial arts of Skyrim, performs bodyguard or mercenary work; ultimately seeking to develop her own art, in order to acquire Thanehood under a mighty Jarl.

    However, as the word pilgrimage implies, her journey is one of spiritual as well as martial growth. There are six austerities the Aberrant Blade must adhere to during her pilgrimage.

    1.   Bear up under days of cold and heat, withstand exposure to wind and rain, and walk mountain roads and difficult paths.
    2.   Do not sleep under a roof.  Consider it fundamental to sleep out in the open. Be patient with exhaustion and hunger.
    3.  Go alone to places frightening to the common brand of men: places where evil spirits congregate or where there are bewitching demons or poisonous beasts 
    4. Become a criminal on purpose. Be put in jail, and extricate yourself by your own wisdom.
    5.   If there is a battle at one’s destination, participate and achieve meritorious deeds. Be direct in combat; avoid acting like a coward.
    6.  Consider your own position to be lower than that of farmers and make your living by helping in the paddies and fields.


    Your pilgrimage and your questing should coincide.

    Dragon Rising: In Yokudan terms, the return of Satakal means a chance to end his Hunger once and for all. Having the spirit of a dragon within her, the Aberrant Blade is a martial artist whose ability and feats ought to be as awesome as the legend she will become.

    The Whispering Door: Mephala’s gift is an irresistible demon’s blade which had a corruptive influence, driving the Aberrant Blade to less than honorable combat in a mad search for new opponents.

    Destroy the Orc Strongholds: After learning the art of smithing from these Orsimer, challenge each stronghold systematically to charge the Ebony Blade…

    With Friends Like These: While I would love to use this build to destroy these milk-drinkers, I needed Windshear. The thrill of the job and the corruption of the Ebony Blade keep the Yokudan swordsman enthralled with the dishonorable employment. Before long you start working on the plot to kill that puppet of an Emperor.

    The Civil War: Either enlist with the Stormcloaks, serving Ulfric unto death- or aspire to become Shogun Emperor yourself.

    If you serve Ulfric loyally, merely kill Tullius and the Emperor quickly. If your character has aspirations of taking the throne, she should kill the Emperor and Ulfric within the same day if possible, leaving a seemingly vacant throne. Using the Blades as your militia, (and red dragons for mounts?), let the Dominion test themselves against this unassuming power that caused such discord in the north.   

    Perhaps some among the Aberrant Blades are less cold blooded, less political? Looking guilt-ridden upon a defenseless country, some might choose a redeeming walkabout to dedicate themselves towards. 

    Whatever your path, think deeply on each of the scrolls presented here; and practice diligently day and night.


    End notes:


    MORTA! For dem fan-effing-tastic screenshots,

    SHINJIN! Fer dat perkspread!

    Miyamoto Musashi, for being an odd but continuing source of inspiration for me in life

    Well, there you have it. The spirit of the “Writings on the Five Elements” instilled in a Skyrim build! Super freaking awesome Ukiyo-e artwork in a build, along with the most awesome screenshots possible, thanks again to Morta! 

  • Member
    February 11, 2015
    Baaaaad Aaasssss build! I'm gonna add a link to it when I get back to my home comp.
  • Member
    February 11, 2015
    Samurai build! Love it!
  • Member
    February 11, 2015

    Oh yeah? What kinda link?

  • Member
    February 11, 2015

    Thanks Hatter! I too love dem samuraah!

  • Member
    February 11, 2015
    Oh, in the Wise Princess where I mentioned your work!
  • Member
    February 11, 2015

    A certain other build of mine in the works is just gonna have to have your avatar and name under the words Credits heh

    Also, thanks for the +1 and the compliment.

    I thought I had typed this already... I'm glad ning wasn't hungry when I was posting the build heh

  • Member
    February 11, 2015

    Awesome work on this Casey, really awesome and kickass.

  • Member
    February 11, 2015

    *Waits for Matt to see this* 

    Excellent work Casey, mixing combat skills will ensure that the character will stay fun even after a long time, and mixing honorable warrior with Mephala's meddling is just awesome. Not to mention a nice touch of Yokudan lore. 

  • Member
    February 11, 2015

    Interesting.  At the risk of showing off how complete a newbie I am, how did you get two Windshears?  Playing on XBox 360, I have to admit that I'm curious how that works, or if it's more a PC-specific thing?